Thursday, March 5, 2009

Some Fall On Stony Ground

Well, technically that should be tiled ground, but somehow "Some Fall On Tiled Ground" sounds cheesy, so I'm falling back on that old 'poetic license' excuse. Again.

We were exiting our gym drills location today when we happened upon a massive container of tile samples at the tile store across the street. Usually this store leaves their cast-off tile samples leaning against the outside wall at the back. Still on their boards. Unbroken, mostly. And we take them home with us. They're irresistible, those tile samples. They recline against the wall, calling to me with their siren's song. I can only resist when I see plain, shiny white tiles. I'm not big on plain, shiny and white. It might be because I hate housework and something so shiny and white only serves to remind me how much work it'll require to keep it shiny and white, but I digress.

This time there was, as I said, a massive container there. Even I, the Adorer of Free Tiles, could not take every single one of them. For one thing, I could see that it was either take all the kids home or take all the tiles. It could not be both. And, if I must be honest, some of the tiles were not to my taste (NOW the truth comes out! picky picky Sheila). And you thought I was hesitating about leaving my kids, now, weren't you?

After sending Max in to the store to ask if we could take the tiles (it really did seem too good to be true), we rifled through to see what there was. I ignored Max reminding the twins, in a very world-weary and obnoxious older brother voice, not to wipe their dusty hands on their clothing LIKE LAST TIME because then they would get their clothes all DUSTY! (the horror of it) I found some beautiful samples. Some coloured ones. Some in what were called The Mermaid Series. Look at those colours! Tell me, could you resist those colours?

I also found a lot of these kinds: various shades of brown. Big squares, little squares, large rectangles, edging tiles, embossed tiles. And all with same beautiful natural look. (yes, I realize I am besotted with these tiles, but can you blame me?)

So we picked the lot up.

And Max put them in the trunk, while admonishing the twins THE ENTIRE TIME to stop messing with his packing methodology.


Some days are better than others, that's for sure. But these tiles more than made up for all the squabbling I was witness to today. And to think that they all SAID they were giving up squabbling for Lent.

And then, right at the bottom, I found these (what? you're surprised I emptied the entire container?).

Two very large pieces of black slate. Don't know what I might do with them, because I suspect they'll be too slippery for paths. But they were too perfect to leave in that bin.

Then, in a very strange coincidence, we came across some packages of paving stones. I say coincidence, because it was only yesterday that I was at the most charming wholesale stone yard, out in the middle of nowhere, laughing with the most eccentric Portuguese fellow (and his cat Gato) about his paving stones.

I have this idea, you see, to build a path down the middle of my front yard. I want to erase all that lawn and make something that looks sort of like this: I have visions of artistically arranged cuts of sandstone interspersed with swathes of Scotch moss and Blue Star Creeper, magically appearing out of nowhere surrounded by ferns and other exotica, which means that I need to figure out how to a) place cuts of sandstone and b) get me some Scotch moss and Blue Star Creeper (and other exotica). And to add a frisson of excitement to the whole venture, I am hoping to do this for next to nothing because I have next to nothing in my bank account for as cheaply as I can.

So, there I was at the stone shop, inquiring into the costs of large artistically shaped pieces of sandstone. I was led around by the charming Pietro, who was in turn led around by his cat Gato. Gato was mildly intrigued by Max and I and clearly alarmed by the twins, so he never came too close, despite Pietro's best entreaties. The twins often have that effect: they move too fast and speak too enthusiastically and dart about too much for some cats. Not that that stops the twins, mind you. The twins love cats (almost as much as I love tiles), and were quite devoted in their attempts to lure old Gato near them, but old Gato was having none of it. Or them.

After discovering that I would be able to get some artistically shaped pieces of stone for much less than I'd expected to, I left Pietro and Gato, and headed home with the kids. I wasn't quite sure what to do: spend next week's grocery money or get some stones for a path.
Then we came out of gym drills today and what did I find but the aforementioned whack of tiles. And, among them, these funny rounded squares. In little cardboard carrying cases. Like the kind the Fuller Brush man used to pack around. They were, according to their label, paving stones. Small, yes. Not enough for an entire path, true. But talk about coincidences.
It was though I was getting a message from up On High somewhere:

"Sheila you MUST make a path!"

(I just hope Emma Thompson doesn't descend from the heavens delivering this message though or I might have to hide because she was pretty scary in that show)

So there you go, My Date With Coincidence. Stay tuned for Part 2: The Path That Came To Stay.


KCB said...

Wow, what a score! Can't wait to see the path.

Heather said...

It certainly does seem as though you are getting a message. ;-) What great finds. That photo and your ideas for your erasing the lawn make me think of the book Front Yard Gardens, have you read that one? (or, more accurately, drooled over the photos?)

I keep meaning to email you to ask if you've read Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook. I was drooling through the photos in it and I thought to myself that you might enjoy them too. ;-)

Sandylein said...

Ha! Another book recommendation: Mosaics by Kaffe Fassett & Candace Bahouth. I just got this one from the library and Bingo! your post about ceramic tiles just seems like kismet, no? So not just paths (though I myself have archived photos of brick, slate or fieldstone paths through lush foliage) but walls, bird baths, chairs. So Sheila.

Samantha said...

What a great score Sheila! They are all lovely and I think I drooled a little when I saw that gorgeous black slate! I'm glad you pulled them out. I could never have left them either - this is something you create a new project around :-) What a lovely path as well.

sheila said...

KCB: Yes, well, that might be something I need to bone up on a bit. I've never actually built a path before. Sounds a little on the complicated side, too, what with all that sand and gravel base. But I will post pictures, if only so we can all have a good laugh.

Heather: I haven't read either of those books. I'll see if the library has them today, though, because I really love the sound of them. I've got a stack out about building things from stone - and the pictures! Gorgeous stuff. Now if only I can make that happen with my own two hands (do I sound nervous?).

sheila said...

Sandy! I LOVE Kaffe Fasset! And I had that book out from the library maybe a month ago. It totally consoled me when my teeth were hurting. You're right - he IS so me. I just wish I could be more Kaffe. He's amazing. And he knits too. Funny, I have no trouble accumulating: it's the DOING I struggle with.

Samantha: I will keep the slate for you if you come visit when you're near here. How's about that as an offer?

Andrea said...

Yes, what luck! I have dreams of a similar path leading from my porch to an area under my linden, maple and birch trees to a little, similarly stone-paved patio area with my barbecue.... and picnic table... a girl can dream, can't she? I'm going to have to start stalking the local tile shops... let me know if you get any messages for me!