Backyard Building – Mosaics Part II

When I wrote the first piece about the mosaic stones in our driveway, there were some critical pictures I couldn’t access at the time, important enough that I thought it warranted a second post.

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Before I get too far into the story, and lest I give any new mothers a complex about what a super-achiever I was in those early months, this picture is a pretty accurate representation of how I spent most of my time the first month after Owen was born. Lucky for me, Sophie has always been very good at distracting herself, especially when she feels the comfort of a parent close by.

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I don’t remember whose bright idea it was, but someone decided we should try creating our own mosaic stones to give away as gifts for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. We incorporated pieces of ceramic dishes, marbles, recycled glass fragments and colored glass chips.

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I was determined to be an active participant in this creative endeavor, but had to admit after a few whaps with the hammer that smashing glass wasn’t the safest activity to try with my baby in a sling.

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My participation moved to the sidelines as overseer, commentator and director while Sophie helped us out by ‘prepping’ the stones, which needed to be washed before applying the concrete. I supervised as she placed marbles and tumbled glass on her own stone which Lance had slathered in Thinset.

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The pièce de resistance was a double stainless steel sink Lance made for my father to use as an unconventional planter in his garden. He built a plywood frame for the sink and applied Thinset directly to the wood.

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It was a beautiful work of art, each panel distinctive, created with painstaking attention to detail.

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Unfortunately, the wood wasn’t sealed, so after spending a few months exposed to the elements, the mosaics began to fall off, one by one.

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When my mother-in-law came to see her new grandson, she took home five of these large stones in her suitcase. Two years later, when she rebuilt her patio, she had three of the stones laid into the stairs.

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Shiny Rocks

These mosaics line the fence next to our driveway where I park my car. An otherwise bare strip of old fence and concrete is brightened signifcantly by these rocks each time I unload the groceries, open the heavy doors of our old Volvo for the little ones, or take out the recycling.

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We created these mosaics in 2002 as a Father’s Day present for my dad, in the weeks after Owen’s birth. I vividly remember limping and wincing around Bedrock, having just delivered a 10 lb 10 oz baby, carrying Owen in a sling, trying to decide on what type of rock to buy, and how much recycled glass we needed. In the end, I think I threw up my hands and retreated to the car, letting Lance make all the selections because I was in too much pain to stand for long.

If you’ve been to Bedrock, you know the tumbled glass is more expensive than the mixed bags, so he bought a little bit of the large chunky tumbled glass, and lots of the tiny, assorted colored glass chips. He spent hours and hours sorting through the chips with tweezers, trying to separate them by color before laying out the rocks. I say “he” because it was a joint project in theory, but I did a lot of pointing and suggesting from my position on the couch with a baby in one arm and toddler in the other.

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My parents decided to put the rocks in their front lawn so the neighbors could admire them as they strolled by on their evening walks. It wasn’t long before they started to sink into the soil and the grass began to obscure the designs. When they sold their house in 2004, we dug the stones out of the lawn and brought them back here to our house where I enjoy them every day.

 Note: We spread thinset, which is a concrete-like compound, directly onto the rock and then placed the glass into it. This meant we didn’t need to apply mortar after we were done. The glass is slightly raised above the surface of the compound.