Finding a number 17 for my Countdown to Christmas was easy, I just used my own door number but to make life a bit more exciting, I decided to hold a ‘Giveaway’ and offer a custom made mosaic plaque to the winner.
After five days all the entrants names were placed in a box, I picked out a name and announced the Winner, promising to make the chosen number in the new year.
Here’s a round-up of my 2020 work and the ‘Giveaway’ plaque will be shared soon 2021 hasn’t begun as we would’ve all wanted with another lockdown and more restrictions, but we have to find joy where we can and meanwhile try to stay well physically and mentally. Wishing you all well and hopefully things will get better soon.
Back in the Autumn we decided to give our front porchway a bit of a tidy-up, so we repainted the masonry and changed the colour of our front door. After taking down the door number that I hand-painted about 20 years ago, I noticed the paint was peeling and would need to be completely redone, so I decided to make a new one and his time it was going to be a mosaic.
I’ve used a frost-proof pottery plate and external grade grout so I think this will last for many years to come
The first mosaic I ever made was a green lizard on a blue background (made from left-over kitchen and bathroom tiles). I’d found a wrought iron half-circle table by the roadside and dragged it home for upcycling. Next I progressed to smashing tiles and covering an Ikea-bought table with flowers.
I really liked the abstract flowers but was never happy with the grout colour I mixed up. It’s always bugged me. I attempted to remove the grout a couple of years ago but found it was too noisy, too hard and gave up. I’ve contemplated taking the table to the refuse centre several times but each time something has stopped me. I’m so glad it did.
As our new neighbours are having extensive building works done I haven’t felt so guilty creating a racket in my workshop, so while they’ve been drilling, so have I !!
I don’t know how many hours or Dremel bits it’s taken, but I dug out as much grout as I could and re-grouted in black. And I love it
Our next-door neighbours were great bird lovers and would feed their feathered friends in the garden each day. They had sparrows nesting in the eaves of their roof, a bird table in the garden and a bird house on the side of their garage where blue tits would raise their young in safety. Every bird was welcome, apart from the heron that emptied the fish from their pond!
All photos taken from my back garden
When they announced they were moving I wanted to make them a gift that would be both useful and personalised, so I decided to mosaic a blue tit on a garden planter.
We’re going to miss them very much but we’re happy that they’re enjoying their new home and a more peaceful way of life.
Hey, long time no see. I hope that you’re all keeping safe and well and enjoying this totally strange summer. It’s been such a long time since I’ve had the time to sit at the keyboard and catch up, but here goes … this is a post about posts!
At the beginning of ‘lockdown’ (23rd March in the UK) I began working on a new project. The plan was to cover the two remaining fence post on our patio with mosaics and, as I already had all the materials, I just needed to come up with the design.
When we had a new fence put up, probably about 12 years ago, I covered one of the posts with an ivy design and lilac background. As the ivy post sits in the middle (with the remaining two either side) I wanted to come up with a design to compliment the colours. Every year our neighbour’s climbing rose bushes pop their heads over the fence and give us the most beautiful display. As luck would have it, they suddenly came into bloom and helped me make a decision. I picked out purple/lilac flowers for the top of one post and white flowers for the other – and hoped they would match the mosaics I completed three years ago on the other side of the patio. Click here to go back in time to see the other mosaics.
Just like last time I experimented with making my own ‘stained glass’ using nail varnish. I’ve learned that red doesn’t stay true (because last time some of my ladybirds faded) but I’m hoping the green and pink won’t fade. These posts won’t be in full sun, so fingers crossed.
Of course I had to incorporate all the beasties that visit our garden too; ladybirds, bees, butterfly, snails, a frog and a Very Hungry Caterpillar!
Probably my favourite because the ‘Wide ‘Mouth Frog’ joke always makes me laugh ’til I cry!
This little mouse represents a lifetime’s fear and a bit of exposure therapy for me …
After spending time with the pusscat we decided to visit the award-winning St George’s Market in Belfast. We jumped on a train and enjoyed the ride to Lanyon Place.
The Market is inside a beautiful Victorian building and has become one of the city’s most popular places to visit. As soon as we walked through the entrance we could hear live music, smell fresh coffee and see beautiful original artworks and crafts.
After lunch in the market we set off to find The Big Fish. No trip is complete unless I’ve seen a mosaic!
The Big Fish printed mosaic sculpture by John Kindness.
I really made the most of the warm start to Autumn by spending more time in my workshop during the evenings. I started this mosaic pot earlier in the year but a busy summer stopped me from finishing it.
Once the teal-coloured tiles were stuck down I chose lilac-purple tiles to compliment and achieve the Moroccan feel I was looking for.
Once again I chose black grout to really bring out the colours.
After planting up the pot with Purple Flame cyclamen I’m really happy with the result. This is going to give much needed colour to my patio over the coming months.
Breakfast today was at The Cheesecake Factory. As anyone who watches The Big Bang Theory will know, this is were Penny works Today was the day that I tried American pancakes for the first time, buttermilk pancakes with blueberries, followed by a vanilla milkshake that was almost as big as me! Although we were barely able to move after the gigantic portions, we headed off to the place that was high on my list of ‘things to do’ - THE MOSAIC TILE HOUSE.
Driving down Palms Boulevard you would be forgiven for thinking it was just another street. With mainly bungalows and two storey houses you’d never know that you were about to walk into a riot of colour. As we approached the house we could see from the mosaic fence that we were in for something special.
We were met at the gate by Cheri, one half of the artist couple who created this crazy, crazy house. Cheri and Gonzalo open their home to the public for tours for an hour every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Cheri makes and decorates the tiles and Gonzalo creates sculptural forms, breaks and lays the tiles – a perfect partnership. The house and garden are covered from top to bottom – inside and out.
The working kitchen.
Their devotion to each other is evident throughout the house. Any area not covered in mosaic has a painted story, a love story.On the tour of their huge studio Gonzalo explained that Cheri likes to paint him and the end result depended on what mood she’s in!
Gonzalo also paints and has artwork in each room and quotes on many of the tiles.
So, after several months of snipping and nipping, cutting and sticking, the panels were finally ready.
It had been a particularly hot and sunny week which wouldn’t be ideal for the installation because the cement would dry too quickly, so I checked the weather forecast and it said the weekend would be warm and overcast. Perfect. As I am not blessed with a huge amount of patience I thought I was being really good waiting two days. When Saturday arrived, dressed in old togs I set about clearing the fence of plants and fairy lights, laid out a plastic sheet and I was good to go.
Yes, I know I should probably wear gloves!
A teeny tiny daisy petal had been dislodged and needed to be sunk back into the cement.
The weather forecast had been a little pessimistic because the sun broke through the clouds and it was a really hot, sunny day and my shoulders got a bit burnt. Anyway, all three panels were now stuck to the posts and tomorrow I would be grouting.
Grout colour is always tricky to decide upon, but I usually favour dark colours (I’ve made bad choices in the past!). It is so exciting when the grout it applied and I wipe away the excess. Gradually the beautiful colours underneath start to pop through. The clean up process was now in full swing because everything was drying particularly quickly, but with plenty of elbow grease it was beginning to look like a mad bouquet of colours.
Dog photography is all about treats and timing, apparently!
So, that’s the end of my latest project – on to the next ……..