Backsplash Progress (and a Giveaway Winner!!)

This weekend was…well…interesting, to say the least. On Saturday, I was all excited about getting started on my kitchen backsplash. I went to Home Depot, purchased everything I needed, and was headed home to get started when…

I had a flat tire.

Bummer. I had to pull into the parking lot of some very shady apartments (the ones that are often referred to as “the projects”, where a few short months ago, a 12-year-old stabbed his cousin to death). I called Matt to tell him what was happening, and my cell phone battery started dying. I assured him that everything was okay, and I could take care of my tire myself. (After all, since he’s disabled and can’t drive, there was nothing he could have done…except worry himself sick…and I didn’t want him to do that!). I quickly got off the phone to save any remaining “juice” I had left in the battery just in case I needed to make one more emergency phone call.

As I was digging through my trunk trying to locate the spare tire and jack, I was approached by a man who insisted on helping me. Initially, I was very grateful to see a “good Samaritan” approaching. But when he got closer, I realized this wasn’t exactly the kind of help I wanted.

No, this was not my knight in shining armor. This was a knight in very rusty armor with bloodshot eyes and wreaking of alcohol. He was 36-years-old, homeless, and VERY drunk. He insisted on changing the tire…by himself…so after handing me his brown-paper-bag-wrapped bottle of alcohol and his cell phone (which incidentally, had more features on it than I can afford on my own cell phone, and he told me about all of them!), he started digging through my trunk. Every time I would try to help, he would push me away and wouldn’t let me near my car.

As he began to jack my car up, he informed me that he would require assistance in return. I told him that all I had was $6 in cash, and he could certainly have that to get something to eat. Aside from that, all I could offer him was prayer. He was quick to tell me that what I had to offer wasn’t enough…he would require more. I told him it was all I had, and if he required more, he would need to step away from my car and let me change my own tire.

He refused to step away.

Things went on like this for about an hour…him changing my tire SLOWLY, him trying to hug me repeatedly, him pushing me away from my car…all the while demanding that I help him.

I was beginning to feel quite uneasy about this man, so in order to hurry up the process, I started loading things back in my trunk. As I came back around to the front of the car, I saw him getting out of the driver’s seat of my car!! I freaked out, because my purse was sitting there in the passenger’s seat.

Finally after waiting an hour for this belligerent drunk man to change my tire (a task which would have taken me 20 minutes without his “help”), I got everything loaded up and was ready to leave…but he wasn’t ready to let me leave just yet. He stood there between my car door and me and wouldn’t let me in. He kept insisting that I owed him something in return. I had already given him the $6 that I promised him, but he told me that he didn’t have it. After going back and forth with this man for about five more minutes (and keeping a death grip on my tire iron just in case I needed to defend myself), he finally moved out of my way and let me leave.

Frightening indeed…and my project day was not off to a good start.

Finally I got home and unloaded all of the items, anxious to get started and excited to try out my new tile saw.

I placed the saw on the kitchen counter, got everything assembled–blade in place, blade guard attached–and the placed water in the reservoir. I wanted to try a test cut, so I turned the power on. Instantly, the blade guard went flying off, and water started spraying all over my kitchen. Within seconds, I was completely drenched. My hair was soaked…dripping…as if I had just stepped out of the shower, and my shirt was so wet I could have entered a wet t-shirt contest. I struggled to find the “off” switch, which was challenging with water flying forcefully in my face as if I were water skiing in my kitchen.


I read the directions that came with the saw again, ensured that the blade and blade guard were attached correctly, and tried again. This time the blade guard stayed in place, but the water spray was just about as bad.

More frustration.

Having met my “challenging situation” threshold for the day, I decided to set the saw aside and only install the tiles that didn’t need to be cut.

That’s when I realized that there really isn’t any such thing as a “small tile job”. Out of the 114 tiles that were required for the tiny backsplash, almost half of them required cutting. So on Saturday night, this is all I had accomplished.

Since I had hoped to finish both sides of the kitchen this weekend, I was disappointed with the progress. I quickly realized that this was not a one-weekend project.

Yesterday I approached the project with renewed enthusiasm. I set the saw up…outside…and even made myself a makeshift rain jacket out of a garbage bag. I emptied most of the water out of the reservoir, and left just enough to cover the edge of the blade about 1/4 inch.

The saw worked beautifully. In fact, I didn’t even need the garbage bag! My hands got a little wet, but that was it.

So yesterday, after cutting about 45 tiles for the tiny backsplash, and then grouting the backsplash last night, here’s what it looks like now.

As you can see, it’s still far from finished. I still have to replace the ivory outlets and switches with white ones, and purchase white outlet/switch covers, caulk around the edges and where the backsplash meets the countertop, and then touch up some paint.

It’s amazing how this “small project” turned out to be not so small after all. Hopefully I can finish the other side next weekend, as well as the back wall, and show you the “big picture”.

On another note…

The winner of the Quilted Patchwork Throw Giveaway is:

Congrats, Terri! Just shoot me an e-mail at [email protected] and let me know where to send your EARTHTONES quilted patchwork throw!

**I’m linking this post to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On The Porch and DIY Day at A Soft Place To Land.

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  1. I love your backsplash! You did a great job. I have a question. I've done giveaways on my blog and used but haven't figured out how to get a screenshot image with the number of the winner (love your addition with the arrow and name). I don't have photoshop, how did you create that? theclassywoman at gmail

  2. To get a screen shot, all you need to do is use the "print screen" button on your keyboard and it will take a snapshot of whatever is displayed on your screen at the time. Then go to a photo editing program (I use Paint Shop Pro) and "paste" the screen shot, and then you can crop the part you want. Then add text to the top.

    If you don't have a photo editing program like Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, you can use "Paint", which comes standard with Windows, and is located under "Accessories".

    Hope that helps!! 🙂

  3. Hi Kristi,
    Wow, what an ordeal getting home! Your backsplash turned out very nice. You do good work! Thank you for joining my PB Giveaway. I also appreciate the tip how to display the random. org tag. Happy designing, and good luck on my giveaway.

    Sorry for the delete, typo.

  4. What a rough start to that project!

    Love the way the tile looks!! You've made me really want to start this project in my house…

    I love the wood (look?) counter also…

  5. Leslie, the countertops are real wood–oak butcherblock. I got them at Ikea! I had checked around locally, and Home Depot told me that their butcherblock countertops would cost about the same as granite. (Yikes!!) Then I found the ones at Ikea, and they were unbelievably inexpensive. I got all of my countertops for around $300!! They are even more gorgeous in person. If you've considered butcherbock, definitely check out Ikea.