When Life Gives You Lemons, Make a Mosaic

Written August 20, 2013

A month and a half ago my laptop was run over by our minivan. It was a short series of missteps leading to a crunch that rendered me instantly untethered to the world of internet connections. Blogging, facebooking, pinteresting, emailing, Skyping – they were all set aside until I could sort out what machine would be my new BFF in the work world. This was a daunting task for me. Have you been to Best Buy lately? While I was holed up in my office for the past two years using some awesome technology, lots more was being created with touchscreens and new operating systems and flippable monitors. This was a whole lot of information to sift through and my brain could only handle bits and pieces at a time, so I let it go and stopped fretting about it.

I made a wall mosaic over our kitchen sink instead. This had been on my to-do list since we purchased the house and designed the kitchen only to realize that we were going to be staring at a wall whenever we stood at the sink. Bo-ring, right? Joel came up with the theme of Fort Wayne’s three rivers and off I’ve been mulling it over ever since.

And of course, I captured the process in photos for your viewing pleasure. Here is the rough design laid out on my work table.

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My supplies lined up on the counter, ready to give this a whirl.

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Below is a blank slate photo followed by one with the river template in place. The design is based directly on the true city map with the St. Mary’s River coming in from the southwest or left on the photo. The St. Joe comes in from the north just right of the faucet and joins up with the St. Mary’s. They form the Maumee River which runs east to Ohio or to the right on this photo.

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A series of photos showing the river tiling bit by bit.

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Now adding the rivers’ shores.

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Adding the remainder of the piece via river stones, glass, and various objects found in the house during our restoration process.

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The found objects were gathered together by us as well as by the contractors throughout the renovation. I have a huge pail full of stuff thanks to them, but here are a few close-ups of the things we used.

A radiator cap from one of the many cast iron radiators removed from the house.

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Keys – skeleton and more modern varieties.

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Knobs and tubes from the first wiring system.

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Fuses from wiring systems added in more recent years.  The orange fuse represents Fort Wayne’s city center on the map.

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Goofy things found in the walls during tear down.

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The call button found in the kitchen floor.

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One of many solid pipe fittings…

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…and one of the many beast nails from days gone by.

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And a few extra touches of my own – a green monopoly house to show where our house would fall on the map and a goddess pendant blessing our home.

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More concentrated green glass and stone depict some of the many parks along the rivers.  These are difficult to see in pictures, but they’re there all the same. Hopefully you can stop on by sometime and catch a glimpse of it all in person. We are relishing it every day, enjoying our dishwashing fully. (OK, that last bit is not true at all, but it seemed like a snappy closing, yes?)


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Regina Leffers McCaleb, Ph.D.

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