Remember six months ago when we changed the counter tops? Remember when I said my last task was to hunt down tile for a back splash? I had to look back to figure out when it was, because we'd both convinced ourselves it was only "a few" weeks ago, or "a couple" of months ago. But no... I now have documentation. It was the first week of January. Damn blog, mocking my procrastination.

We looked at the weird, paint line for six months while I tried to convince myself that I didn't hate each and every tile choice in both Home Depot and Lowes. The ones I didn't actually hate either wouldn't work in the kitchen or were something along the line of $12 a linear foot, thereby putting them firmly in the hate category but just for different reasons.

I just kept storing more and more appliances on the counter top to camouflage the fact that there was one more unfinished project staring me in the face. I had a very difficult time imagining a) what kind of tile I wanted to see, b) what would go with the counter top and c) what would "work" in our kitchen. I wanted something eye catching and stupendous and that matched my sensibilities. We'd been planning to take a sample of the counter top and go out tile hunting at actual stores that stock actual tile but most of them aren't in our local area and we just never got around to setting aside an entire Saturday morning to drag two girls around to tile stores and then pay for the tiles The Dormouse broke in the store. Frankly, with the price of gas, it probably wasn't that cost effective anyway.

Last week something in me snapped and while we were at Lowes making purchases for a completely unrelated project (yes, they tend to stack up around here), it occurred to me that I could buy one tile in each style that I liked and take them home. That way I could put them up against the counter and the wall and try them out and I wouldn't have to purchase twenty-six feet of tile, then get it all home and realize that it looked completely different in my house than I thought it would. Sometimes my genius amazes even me.

I bought a dozen or so tiles, some with cool inset patterns and rope or V-cap pieces to top them, some with intricate tile pieces or textures and bas-relief designs, some with matted and polished glass in them (I badly wanted that one to work)... oh and I threw a plain old one in there just for comparison's sake. Then I took them all home, lined them up against the counter top and started at them for three days and did my best impersonation of Goldilocks. This one's too big, this one's too dark, this one's too tall, this one's too expensive, this one's just wrong in general, etc. When I finished the process of elimination, I was left with the plain old $.98 tile and by this time, neither one of us cared about eye catching and stupendous and matching our sensibilities, we just Wanted. It. Done. Already.

Here is the unfinished wall.

Putting mastic on:

I love how these spacers are lined up like little soldiers:

Adding grout:

(man, it's hard to take a picture of your own hand from an angle like this -
also, how freaky is it that my arm bends this way?)

Washing off excess grout:


So... it's not exactly what I wanted, but this tile seems to work in the kitchen and all those snazzy expensive tile designs I was looking at just didn't go. The ghost of the Cheshire Cat approves, as you can see in the corner.

This is the sixth or so tile project I have undertaken, including the kitchen floor of a friend's house while it was being built. You got a tile job? We are available -- have trowel, will travel. I have to say that tiling is one of my very favorite projects to do around the house... but only if I have The KingofHearts to cut and trim the irregular pieces because I hate that part - well not the cutting so much, but the being responsible for buying more tile when I've accidentally broken an entire box while trying to cut them.