Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Gypsy Wagon Hearth Tiles....

Cutting And Fitting.....

The Living quarters in a Gypsy Wagon, Dear Readers, are quite small and require very careful planning and measuring and cutting and fitting to ensure that everything will work in its designated place! In the picture above (alas, it is a rather dark one.... the sun had left for the day....) you can see the beginnings of the general layout of the hearth side of the wagon. The hearth is in the corner right inside the door (or should I say left inside the door?) and occupies a space just over 2 inches wide.... or approximately 25 inches in RL measure. I know it looks terribly confined.... and it is.... but I have known apartments with smaller cooking stoves! Next to it, under the window will be a sink or wash bowl stand, and next to that beside the sleeping compartment is a bench seat with storage underneath. I have cut a simple framework that separates the parts, but have only started to build the hearth. The trickiest part is that it needs to be surrounded by ceramic tiles to protect the wooden walls of the wagon from the heat which would be emitted by the old fashioned wood burning stove, and it needs to have a "hood" above it to contain the chimney pipe where it exits the roof of the wagon. And since the walls on this wagon are not yet attached.... so that fitting and measuring and painting might be a little easier.... I needed to build a little "framework" for the hearth so I could attach the tiles and still be able to disassemble the walls when needed. The base for the hearth is plywood, but the tile surround is just cardboard because I didn't want to lose any more space than necessary with the thickness of the tile walls.

As I mentioned before, I have two different patterns of tiles
 that I am mixing because I don't have enough of either one
 to complete the tiling needed for one hearth.
And since there would be gaps 
where the tiles were already cut apart
 (not just from one printed sheet)
 I decided I needed to cut all the tiles apart
 and glue them on individually.
 Above you can see I have made a start
 gluing the tiles to the very carefully fitted
 cardboard hearth sections.

Here I am starting to add the tiles of the second pattern.

I love these tiles, because they portray 
the labors of the seasons, a very Medieval theme!

In this case the labors only cover ten tiles
 because this set was already cut up by someone
 before I ever bought them. 
(Bought at a going out of business sale long ago.)
But it is just enough to fit this space perfectly!

And of course, I had to test the fit.... 
again and again....

And try to get a sense of how much 
would be visible from the door of the wagon....

And a closer view....

And the other side wall.... 
once the tiles were trimmed to fit.... 
(and the trimmings Not thrown away... 
because they will go around the wooden door trim....)

Here all three wall sections are propped in place.....

But the trim around the doorway would also need tiles
 to protect the wood from the heat.... 
so I add that section and use the trimmed ends 
of the tiles for the  edge you will never see.... 
(But I will know it is there!!!)

And with the section of tiles that covers the door frame trim. 
The wall sections are now almost complete, Dear Readers,
but I still need to finish the base.
Because I don't have enough tile to cover the entire base as well, 
only the top surface on which the stove will sit,
 I decided to try to make the base a "stuccoed" brick structure. 
(But I have still not figured out how to make the
 appearance of stucco on the wood...)
 I decided it would have terracotta bricks for the bottom layer.... 

Which I have only painted on here.... 
(hoping that the painting will resemble the bricks well enough... 
once they are dirtied up and covered with wood for the fire....)

This is Not yet finished.... 
it's just a start..... 
to see if it looks the way I imagined..... 
but I think I need to finish the tiling on the base....
 and the stucco..... and "age" it a bit..... before I can really tell.

But you can sort of start to get a feeling for the space.... 
I will need to manufacture a little "cast iron" stove.... 
because I have not seen any that would be small enough! 
And have the right features....
(such as a railing to keep pots from sliding off....!)

So that is what I accomplished on my weekend, Dear Readers, 
a Little bit of Tiling, lots and lots of cutting and fitting.
Oh, and the thirteenth Lilac blossom too!

Which you can see here
 with the slowly growing collection!

And the hearth for the second Gypsy Wagon
 is waiting its turn....
I have the tiles, but they will require
 the pattern to be designed for the space....
And lots more cutting and fitting to be done!


  1. I love how cheerful the tiles are and how detailed!

    1. Hi Sheila! I love these tiles! The patterns are so Medieval in theme.... and the colors are perfect for this wagon!

  2. Those tiles are so beautiful. I wish I had some for my kitchen, tho I'm glad I no longer have to cook on a wood stove, small or large. it's hot out here! And I'm glad to see the bundle of lilac blossoms growing.
    Lots of love,

  3. These beautiful tiles fit so very well in your gipsy wagon, Betsy, I do understand that it was quite a job to do all the measuring in such a tiny space, but the result is fantastic! Now your Gipsy Mommy can cook a nice meal. And I so agree with Harriet, about being glad not to cook in such a small space because it must be so hot ;).
    I love seeing grow your lilac blossoms every week, number 13 is on the roll, great!!
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. Hi Ilona! I thought just making the "small" tiled area wouldn't take very long... but now I am remembering how much time it takes to make small things! LOL! I think the Gypsy's mostly cook outdoors.... and only use the inside fire on very cold days! :)

  4. I think that your clever mix of tile patterns is entirely in keeping with your Gypsy Wagon theme Betsy, AND that it shouldn't look any other way!
    Now I'm eagerly awaiting the tiny iron stove on top as I've NO DOUBT that it will look just as PERFECT too! ❤ :D

    1. Dear Elizabeth... I am getting up my courage to build the iron stove from "scratch" because I know it can be done because I've seen you do it for your Green Dolphin Street House! :)

  5. The tiles are beautiful and are perfect for the Gypsy Wagon's look, so cozy and detailed :-).

    1. I love these tiles and I'm so glad there are the right number for this wagon! :)

  6. I love the way you've mixed the two different tiles and having just enough even for the door trim return is kismet! I'm excited to see what you come up with for the stove part, and to see the unique artistic touch you add to everything!

    1. Thank you Jodi! It is Kismet! I have been wondering where I would use them... and there are only a few so it had to be somewhere special! I think they are perfect here! Now I just have to design the stove...... !! :)

  7. You know I always enjoy it very much whenever there's a new post from you… but (hard to believe but true) I enjoy it even more when it's a post with my most favourite Betsy-saying of all! ;O) But really, there had to be tiles too at the door… not only because you will know they're there… but with a cooking space this small your Gypsy cook will need a work space perfect in every detail. Wonderful work - and a great decision to use these tiles with their beautiful scenes on. It made me think of "A Christmas Carol" where Scrooge likes to watch the Dutch tiles of his fireplace for hours because of the stories they tell. And isn't it great that even a tiny amount of tiles can at once become the right amount when being used in the right project? Oh, not to forget - welcome to lilac No. 13! You're pretty good at reaching your goals! ;O)


    1. Dear Birgit, I had forgotten that part of A Christmas Carol! Thank you for reminding me! It makes these tiles even More special... because surely they must have a magical transporting quality to them....! Holding Dreams within the tiles... just waiting to be released! :) And yes, I am marveling that the tiles fit so perfectly... I could not have planned it if I tried! LOl! :):)

  8. Hi, Betsy - I love the way the tiles are turning out; mixing the two styles adds so much interest! Your plan for fitting the necessary pieces into those small spaces is exciting, and I can hardly wait to see the finished interior. Those squeezed-in parts, although challenging, I know, will only add to the cozy and efficient feel of the wagon. I showed my ten-year-old grandson some of the photos of your gypsy wagons, and he wants to know why we can't live in one! I'm wondering the same thing! Congratulations on completing the thirteenth lilac blossom - you're moving along nicely.

    1. Hi Marjorie! I think we all have the Dream of living in a Gypsy Wagon.... taking our home with us ... like a turtle with a very beautiful shell! LOL! I am enjoying making them as magical as I can... and I'm so glad the tiles fit the space! Now I just have to build the stove...!

  9. Your tiles are wonderful and perfect for this amazing project. I cant wait to see the stove and all the other awesome items you so cleverly put together. Beautiful lilac blossom.
    Hugs Maria

    1. Hi Maria! I am really glad these tiles fit here... I have been wondering where I could use them! And the lilacs are going to take a long time... but I am working on it! LOL!

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Hello Betsy,

    Those tiles are beautiful! Gypsies would go round and ask for work and end up doing all kinds of jobs, including those on the tiles. How fitting!
    And of course you need to cover the part at the door with tiles, it's a matter of safety ;-).
    My stove is a pencil sharpener. I bought it from a website that has loads of them. They are very small. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
    And your lilacs are growing in number. Won't that be a pretty lilac tree!

    1. Hi Veronique! I am so glad you reminded me of that... that the Gypsies would do the itinerant jobs... Here I had been thinking they would never harvest grain because they never owned the land or stayed in one place long enough! It makes it much more fitting that they see those tiles and carry them with them! Maybe I need to look into the pencil-sharpener web site! LOL! I never would have thought of that!!! :)