Giving Some Equal Time to My Talented Son!


It is about time I do some bragging on my son Michael! Diane's brother.

Diane and I share our online adventures so we tend to mention each other and our crafty endeavors often.

Well - just so you know - Mike is just as talented and creative as his sister but in his own ways. Although I am sure if he would ever explore carving he would find he has natural born carving skills, he doesn't have a burning desire to try his hand at arts or craft.

But he is a highly skilled, excellent stone mason and bricklayer. Working with stone and brick seems to be in his genes as he is a fifth generation (that we know about) stone mason/bricklayer and every uncle, great uncle and cousin on his Dad's side of the family makes their living in that trade.


Recently Mike completed a remodel of his fireplace and sent me before, progress and finished shots. Here it is right after he had removed the molding above the mantel and the mantel and hearth stones had been installed.

These are shots taken by cell phone and sent to his Mom, so they aren't perfect but good enough to get the story told!


What is especially cool about this project is that it is the ultimate recycle project! A friend had all this beautiful stone left over from a project and it was slated for a trip to the dump. But Mike envisioned another and much better future for it!

FYI - Mike actually installed the stone right over the old brick using some kind of epoxy to hold it in place.


The stone slabs he was given were 6' x 4'. So every single one of these pieces had to be cut from those big slabs to fit. In fact the whole project had to be carefully measured and the stone shapes and sizes carefully figured out.

I mean think about it! He had an existing fireplace and slabs of stone 6'x4'  to start with! And he was able to just figure out how to make it all work!


A few days after sending the image above, I received this one! He wasn't quite satisfied - too plain I guess for his taste! So he somehow stained or painted a few stone squares black and then cut and glued small white stone squares onto the larger black ones to create corner accents.


And here it is! Finished! Ready for cozy holiday fires!

At Christmas, every square inch of that mantel and the hearth will be used to display his rather large Nutcracker collection. He always sends me pictures of the Nutcracker display and his tree every year so I will be sure to share!

All those brilliant nutcracker colors are going to really pop against that white stone!


Of course, with all that cutting and trimming to make the stones fit perfectly, there were bits and pieces of stone left over.

So Mike designed and built a spice rack! And now he is on the lookout for a nice set of matching spice jars.

Awesome son! Diane and I are both so proud of him and love him very much.

Very talented family!!! Of

Very talented family!!! Of course he can't bring his projects in a bag when he's on a trip ,but, you can't have everything. hehehe........The spice rack is great,but,I am reminded that the spice companies need to do something about where they put the content info.

I could hardly continue down

I could hardly continue down to the words, because that picture of Mike is HOT! What a hottie! Did I mention: he's attractive?!

But now I'm even more impressed with his stone work. As a lover of little tiles/rocks/minerals, I certainly can appreciate mosaics and carvings. But, are you kidding?! This work is amazing. I know how difficult that must have been, with an exacting eye and the ability to envision how different that fireplace can be from what it once was. Lovely black accents, too. This will enhance whatever is placed on it, and is a great focal point. I can't wait for him to get to work on our mantel!

Thanks for sharing some more about Mike. And just let him know that he is appreciated for more than just


What a fantastic

What a fantastic transformation! Really nice fireplace but I think I'm even more impressed with his use of scrap materials for the spice rack.
And Pam, what gorgeous children you have - good genes!

What a handsome fellow :)

What a handsome fellow :) Great job on the fireplace remodel Mike! Hey Pam....he is quilting with stone lol. I like the lighter stones instead of the old fashioned red brick. It must brighten the room and it will definitely make the nutcrackers POP against it. My 12 year old Son Robbie loves nutcrackers also. He has a small collection right now but I keep adding to it each Christmas.

Wow! Your new fireplace looks

Wow! Your new fireplace looks so spiffy. Handy to have a son who is so talented!

Very cool! Looks amazing and

Very cool! Looks amazing and I love that it's recycled.

TFS Pam, he is indeed very

TFS Pam, he is indeed very talented. Love the new fireplace surrounds, I bet it makes the room look much larger. Can't wait to see the nutcracker display, it will look fantastic with the white background I'm sure.

Wow that's an amazing

Wow that's an amazing transformation! And your son is awfully cute too Pam (in case you didn't know)!!

I think he's cute too! (And I

I think he's cute too! (And I can say that without bias, because I'm his sister.) :-)

The corner details really

The corner details really make it! It looks great.

Very nice project, it's a

Very nice project, it's a talent to work with stone.

Beautiful! I have *two* '70s

Beautiful! I have *two* '70s era fireplaces that could use makeovers... That is so inspiring! Do you know if he removed the brick or just went over it? I wonder if increasing the depth of the firebox changes how the fireplace works...

The stone I used is only one

The stone I used is only one inch thick and to answer your question it won't change how it works at all

Thanks for the answer, Mike!

Thanks for the answer, Mike! I guess I'd better start looking for some stone... :)