What to Do With My Dulcy Mahar Tiles?

by Katy on October 15, 2011 · 19 comments

If you live in Portland, Oregon and you love gardening, then you know who Dulcy Mahar is. Dulcy wrote a fantastically popular weekly gardening column for years in The Oregonian, and recently passed away. She was famous for her self-depricating style of writing, as well as her love of pink flamingos and her adventures with gardening assistant, “Doug The Wonder Boy.”

My parents were good friends with Dulcy and her husband Ted in the 1970’s, and I have many fond memories of hanging out with them. So when The Oregonian asked readers to send in their remembrances of Dulcy, my mind immediately went to a set of three tiles she had painted for a backsplash in our 1977 kitchen remodel.  Of course, the 1977 kitchen remodel has since been updated, but I remembered that the tiles had been carefully removed and set aside. Luckily, my father was able to unearth the tiles, and I brought them home.

See the tiles? They're behind the stove. And yes, my father and I are super groovy. Thanks for noticing!

But what to do with the tiles? 

My first thought was to simply mount the three tiles on a board and display them in my garden, but I kind of thought that a more unique solution might be in order. So I sent my enviable dilemma to Peggy McMullen, the editor of the Homes and Gardens section of the The Oregonian, so that she could see if her readership might help me brainstorm some creative ideas.

The Oregonian ended up publishing a short piece in last week’s Home and Gardens section of the newspaper asking readers for ideas. Sadly, there is only one comment so far, however I know that Non-Consumer Advocate readers are highly superior when it comes to coming up with great ideas.

So . . . click HERE to read the short newspaper article, and help me figure out how best to display these wonderful handmade tiles. And then, please share your ideas in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares October 15, 2011 at 10:20 am

Personally, I think they need to go behind your stove. I know it’s not outside, but it would be wonderful.


Katy October 15, 2011 at 11:12 am

I am kind of thinking the same thing. I bought a stove hood a few weeks back, but ended up returning it when I realized that it sat 19 inches above the stove, when the standard is 27 – 30″.

I could do something to cover the hole in the wall that is currently “featured.”



Linda in Indiana October 15, 2011 at 10:40 am

I have seen wonderful side tables where the top is made of tiles. Wouldn’t that be neat in a room in your home or on your porch or patio? Those tiles are absolute treasures! Whatever you decide, I am sure they will continue to honor the relationship you had with Dulcy!


Mindy October 15, 2011 at 10:59 am

Yes, that picture IS super groovy. I love it. :o)

I’m thinkin’ Dulcy would wonder why you were making such a fuss over the tiles. I can hear her words coming through an article about it. Although, I would be doing the exact same thing if they were mine. I can completely understand wanting something special done with them. What an awesome treasure you have.

Unfortunately, last week’s paper is still laying in a basket in my living room, so I’m going to have to go read the article and then put some thought into what I would do if they were mine.

I shall return……


Reese October 15, 2011 at 11:37 am

Do you have a BBQ in the backyard? Perhaps make something that allows them to hang, and place it above that? Sort of honoring her outdoor nature but also keeping with the “above the cooking hearth” tone of it all too 🙂


Sandra R October 15, 2011 at 11:58 am

You could use them as part of a table top or on a serving tray that could be used indoors or out. It’s really up to you how prominently and permanently you want to showcase them.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi October 15, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Hmm… stepping stone? Framed in a shadowbox (es) and put in side or out? Tiled above your house #’s (a lot of people do that here, but most homes are stucco)? Have a small board the size of all 3 tiles, adhere them to the board, and hang it from the window…so it’s like a view of the outside, but on the inside (like some hang stained glass or ornaments)? I can’t wait to see what you decide!!


Thrifty Household October 15, 2011 at 1:21 pm

You could get a wooden base & trim made for them & have them as a long mat/ pan stand/place to be drinks, etc… on a table? or a small tile run above a handwash basin?


Ann October 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I like all the ideas except the stepping stone and I would worry about your Oregonian sunshine degrading the tiles. I think I might frame them and hang them either over your stove, in your kitchen or in your entry way. They are way cool. And you and your dad…delightful! And super groovy.


Christopher October 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Find a small wooden table that you could envision them as the centerpiece of, and then trace/mark the outline, use a router to cut away a recess for them, and then set them into the tabletop with whatever glue/grout you choose. Good side table, since they’d function as a built-in coaster, and with this project in mind, you now have something that you can go stalking for. Someday, somewhere, the perfect little table for that’s going to show up.


Jo October 15, 2011 at 6:08 pm

They are lovely, and I have no suggestion except that you could enjoy them year-round if they were inside rather than outside.


Jenny October 15, 2011 at 9:23 pm

If you have a covered entryway or porch they could be mounted, framed or not, near or at the top of your door way, an honorable and welcoming spot. All the better if the colors match the exterior of your house. Its a very happy scene and kinda reminds me of the Irish blessing “May the road rise up to meet you…” with the hilly lines.


Joy October 15, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Another reader had the same idea I immediately thought of…I would take my time and find a cute, cheap (or free) table like the one you pictured a few posts back. I love the look of inlaid tiles. That would be so pretty. I think they would look good in a bathroom as well. I also thought about making a tray using them mounted to the serving area somehow but that would mean you would only be able to see the tiles on occasion.


Jenn H October 16, 2011 at 3:44 am

I don’t have any really good suggestions besides what has already been offered but if you are going to put them outside make sure use a sealer on them for the outdoors. It would be a shame to see them get messed up after all of this.


Juhli October 16, 2011 at 4:13 am

I like the idea of putting then in a serving tray that would be used inside and out. You could figure out how to hang it on the wall between uses. Or cover that hole in the wall LOL.


Lucia Jenkins October 16, 2011 at 7:35 am

No matter what you do with them you have to make sure they are protected, from the elements, from fading and from breakage. I love the idea of a small table tiled with these as the focal point. A serving tray is also nice, but at my house all it would do is gather dust. My favorite idea is a beautiful frame or shadow box with the tiles displayed, along with other information about the artist, such as the newspaper article and any other personal memorabilia, such as photos. That really makes it personal, and it highlights the fact that these tiles have a personal connection to your family and are not just some pretty tiles you picked up somewhere. I love shadow boxes. You could get some ideas at a home deocrating store, then do the work yourself. It is not hard. We did a shadow box for my father with his dad’s violin and it is beautiful. We included photos of his dad playing the violin and some sheet music of songs he played. My father loves it. Good luck, but whatever you do, make it personal.


Maureen October 16, 2011 at 2:27 pm

What about making a planter? Find 1 time that is the same size to use as the 4th side and then use a plastic pot on the inside. Then you can move the planter inside and outside every season.


Renee October 16, 2011 at 5:58 pm

I vote for framing nicely and hanging in the house.


Jessica October 17, 2011 at 4:10 am

I also like the idea of mounting them behind your stove or tiling a small table. You could mount them on the top of a wooden box.


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