Category Archives: gardens

mosaic tile gazing balls

Garden Gazing BallsVal, a cherished tile gypsy, was sharing her recent gluing frenzy with bowling balls.  It immediately brought back fond memories of battling a 15 pound bowling ball while trying to glue things to it.

Truth be told … the hardest part of mosaic tiling a bowling ball is … finding the bowling ball.

Now that she’s got me going … anyone have an old bowling ball that they want to get rid of ? 🙂

Mosaic tiled bowling balls or … mosaic tiled gazing balls … are pretty easy to create by preparing the surface properly and using the right adhesive.

mosaic tile balls
balls in half moon bay © mara lee


  1. Bowling Ball
  2. Flat Tile Materials in ceramic, stained glass, vintage china, mirror and glass gems
  3. Weatherproof/Waterproof Adhesive … Best choices – GE II Silicone • E6000 • Clear Liquid Nails
  4. Sandpaper medium grade is fine
  5. Sanded grout – FYI … darker shades won’t show the wear that lighter shades of grout will
  6. Grout Additive (Used to mix grout instead of using water. Makes the grout more flexible and can help prevent cracking)
  7. Grout or Masonry clear sealant


  • Clean the bowling ball. Let it dry.
  • Seal the finger holes, if you don’t want to use them. Again, a MacGyver thing.
  • Rough up the ball using the sandpaper … or you can cover the ball with tile mesh before gluing … ask me.
  • Always wear safety glasses when cutting tile or glass.
  • Organize mosaic tile materials by choosing pieces that are close to the same thickness, for uniformity.
  • Using a wheeled tile nipper, mosaic tile cutter or glass cutter … cut the tile, glass or china pieces before you start gluing.
  • Prop the bowling bowl on a large weighted coffee can … or something comparable.
  • Grab your adhesive and start gluing. (FYI…Adhesives for this project are TOXIC. Best to do this in a very well ventilated area or outside.)
  • A little patience is needed. It’s round!
  • If pieces don’t lie flat … cut them smaller.
  • This project takes multiple days. Glue one side of the bowling ball. Let it dry for at least 24 hours. Longer is always better!
  • Glue the other side of the bowling ball and let that dry for at least 24 hours. Again, longer is better.
  • Grout. Read the directions.
  • Remove grout and clean.
  • Cover with a dry cleaning bag (or something comparable) to allow the grout to dry slower and hopefully prevent cracking.
  • Wait at least 24 hours.
  • Uncover and polish.
  • Let it cure for a few more days, polishing everyday.
  • Seal finished piece with grout or masonry clear sealant. Read the directions.
  • Gaze.

FYI … Mosaic Tiled Gazing Balls and handmade mosaic tile garden art should be brought in during colder months and resealed each season.

go outside. let it dry. © mara lee

all rights reserved copyright © mara lee. please do not copy, distribute, duplicate or create derivative works using my original designs and photography. thank you very much!



Love Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

… and hope to get there someday soon.

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a folk art environment, gallery space, and nonprofit organization that showcases the work of mosaicist Isaiah Zagar.

Isaiah Zagar is an award-winning mosaic mural artist whose work can be found on over 100 public walls throughout the city of Philadelphia and around the world.

Zagar has devoted himself to beautifying the South Street neighborhood since the late 1960s, when he moved to the area with his wife Julia. The couple helped spur the revitalization of the area by purchasing and renovating derelict buildings, often adding colorful mosaics on both their private and public walls. The first such project was Julia’s still-thriving folk art store, the Eyes Gallery at 402 South Street and continues on for miles.

Back in the day, a few tile gypsies tried this on the streets of our historic little town of Jordan.

Interesting that the cracks in the sidewalks that were filled with treasures …  testing 5 different kinds of concrete … popped up like toast after one winter.  Hmm.

… and can you believe that people actually pried off the bits and pieces from the buildings with tools? Yep. True story.

But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying.

Art changes things.

Language of Flowers

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. ~Chinese Proverb

Stumbled upon the language of flowers, sometimes called floriography. It was a Victorian-era means of communication in which various flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages allowing people to express their feelings without saying a word.

Having a tough time envisioning a person standing in front of a garden, or floral counter, composing a secret message and even if they did, should you just assume that the person receiving the flowers knows each of their meanings?  Sorry … just trailing off and taking the fun out of it.

However I can take credit for knowing what different color roses have to say …

Red Rose – Love ; I love you
• White Rose – Eternal Love; innocence; heavenly; secrecy and silence
• Pink Rose – Perfect happiness; please believe me
• Yellow Rose – Friendship; jealousy; try to care
• Black Rose – Death

Then I started wondering what my garden was saying …

  • Lily of the Valley – Sweetness, Humility, Returning Happiness, Trustworthy
  • Sunflowers – Pure and Lofty
  • Blue Iris – Faith and Hope
  • Hollyhock – Ambition
  • Daisy – Innocence, Purity, Cheer, Simplicity
  • Ivy – Dependence, Endurance
  • Coreopsis – Always Cheerful
  • Purple Lilac – First Emotion of Love
  • Sage – Wisdom, Long Life
  • Lily – Purity
  • Dandelion: Oracle of Time, Love, Faithfulness and Happiness

What’s your garden saying, besides weed me?