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I am so here are some old pictures of one of my best tile murals

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jan 04, 2012 02:38 AM
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by Renovationbloviatrix ( last modified Aug 04, 2009



Who knew - I actually do have some one besides Mom who reads this blog and has been wondering (just like Mom) when I will sit down on my dead ass and write post Something - Anything.  I am so surprised and pleased that Noel cares, I am going to try to do better.  Here is the excuse I will use:  I have cut back on serious projects to focus on planning for the huge facelift project (see 2 posts back - way back to August 2008, i think).  But there is stuff i have been doing.  Here is my other excuse:  I had to get a new computer and can't find the software for downloading stuff from my camera.  Gotta figure that one out, because I have done lots of smaller stuff that does add up nicely.I thought i was going to be able to post the drawings for the facelift project, but can't open the file here at home.  So i will solve that one tomorrow and try to post those before I go away for the weekend.

In the meantime, I am going to post some old pictures of a tile mosaic I made at my previous house.  It is one of my all-time favorites, and something I hope to replicate (sort of, only better) here in my new place - just not sure yet where it will fit in.  Here is a preview of the finished product:

The installation site was a bay window with a wood sill that had been water-stained
 by overflowing plant pots.  It was a nice sunny window we installed in about 2 years earlier.  

I found these mosaic tiles at a home surplus store for about $3 each, marked down from $29.  The scrolley parts reminded me of ferns sprouting and uncurling, so I decided to use that in the design.  One of these is intact; one has the borders trimmed off.

I did a little reading before I started to find out what type of mortar to use.  Everything I read indicated that the best thing to use was good old Elmer's glue, since the substrate was plywood.  This made it easy to work in small areas, and I could draw out a shape on the wood (although I don't really work that way - I am not good at drawing or following lines).  It does mean that this should not be exposed to standing water, so I would need to wipe up spills from overwatering, but wouldn't have to worry about water stains.
The first thing I did was cut out the "sprouts" and lay them out on the sill.  I wanted to make some big ferns using the other tiles.   This was slow work, so it quickly became obvious that the easiest way to do this would be to have all the other tiles off of the mesh so i could move them around as needed.  So, I pulled all the rest of these little tiles from the mesh and sorted them all out by color.  At first i thought there were just white and green squares, but I found there were brown and gray ones, various shades of green, and several shapes.  I sorted these out into plastic leftover-food containers that I could cover and stack when I was done for the day.

After I filled up the space with the green parts of the ferns, I outlined them with the white tiles.  I decided to use some other parts of the  original mosaic tiles along the border, making a green "stripe" all the way around.  

And then I just started filling in all the spaces with the white tiles.   After a few rows, I could see that i would not have enough square pieces to make symetrical rows, so I decided to make some "swirly" patterns using the smaller pieces.

And then, it started to become obvious that i would run out of white squares before I had finished, so I decided to incorporate some of the grey ones into the background.....
I went back to the store and bought all the rest of the mosaic pieces they had, but I knew I will still run out.  So I got some Home Depot tiles that were flat stones and worked those into the corner areas.  This looked so good and really "grounded" (no pun intended) the design, I decided I would look for other tiles that would add more texture and color

I think these added a LOT to the design, and made it much more interesting than it would have been with all white tiles.

It took about 2 weeks to get everything in place, dry, and ready to grout.  I 
decided to use a light  gray grout for a couple reasons.  One is so it would not look horrid if water did run out of a pot and get it dirty or stained.  Another is because I wanted a low contrast with the white sections.  Also, it looked "earthy" without being brown (and too dark).  I put some masking tape along the white window frame to make clean-up a bit easier, and mixed up the grout.  This was a pretty small area, so the grouting step was pretty fast and easy.  After it dried, I cleaned it all up and sealed it thoroughly with several coats of silicone sealer.

Here is the rest of the finished product.  The colors don't look quite as bright as they really are because I took these pictures at night.  

The new owners of the house love it as much as I still do, so that made it easier to leave!




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